Student’s College Planning Guide
Use this checklist to help prepare you for educational opportunities after high school.
In 7th & 8th Grade
Begin thinking about the high school classes Take interest and skills assessments to help
that will prepare you for college. Take the you think about possible career options.
most difficult classes you can handle.
Talk with your school counselor and parents
Ask your parents, guardians or teachers to about careers that interest you.
help you develop good study habits.
Create a tentative high school class plan.
Practice setting and reaching goals.
Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
Volunteer in your community.
In 9th & 10th Grade
Take interest and skills assessments to help Take the PLAN in 10th grade to prepare for
you explore careers that interest you. the ACT, and to identify areas where you need
Talk with your school counselor about college
and career options and the education required Review your high school class plan. Take the
for those careers. most difficult classes you can handle. Stay
focused on your schoolwork.
Talk with your family about paying for college.
Explore internships and apprenticeships.
Talk with friends, teachers, counselors and
your parents about college. Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
Participate in extracurricular activities. Sign up for classes that will earn you college
credit during your junior year of high school.
In 11th Grade
Attend college and financial aid fairs. Sign up for classes that will earn you college
credit during your senior year of high school.
Mentor others and have a mentor for yourself.
Take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring.
Take the PSAT in the fall to prepare for the
SAT, and to identify areas where you need Review your high school class plan. Take the
improvement. most difficult classes you can handle. Stay
focused on your schoolwork. Make sure you
Consider possible career options and
are meeting your high school graduation
investigate the education that is needed.
Request materials from schools that interest
Research your private scholarship options.
you, and visit their websites.
Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
Arrange campus visits to those schools that
interest you. Get a job to earn and save money for college,
or explore your skills through an internship or
Participate in extracurricular activities.
Request admissions and financial aid forms.
June 2010 1 www.getreadyforcollege.org
In 12th Grade
Stay focused on your schoolwork and take the December - February
most challenging classes you can handle. Apply to four or more colleges that interest
you. Some may have earlier or later deadlines.
Take career interest assessments and
(Make copies of each application.)
determine the education needed for careers
that interest you. Attend a financial aid event.
Participate in extracurricular activities. Apply for scholarships offered by the colleges
to which you have applied.
Volunteer in the community.
Apply for financial aid by completing the Free
September - November Application for Federal Student Aid at
Arrange campus visits to those schools that www.fafsa.gov as soon as possible after
interest you. It’s okay to go more than once. January 1. You and your parents will need the
previous year’s income tax information to
Take or retake the ACT and/or SAT. complete it.
Review your high school class plan to make Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) for
sure you are on track to graduate.
Select the schools to which you will apply.
Make a list of deadlines for each school. March - May
Have your final high school transcript sent to
Create a resume of your academic, athletic
the colleges to which you’ve applied.
and work activities as well as other
achievements. Prepare a portfolio if you’re Carefully review and compare the financial aid
interested in the arts. packages offered by each college to which
you applied. Each college is different and may
Ask for recommendations (if required) from offer you different amounts of different types of
teachers, counselors and others who can aid.
comment on your abilities and talents.
Choose a college and notify in writing those
Attend a financial aid event. Review a copy of you don’t plan to attend.
Paying for College: State & Federal Financial
Aid Guide. Send in any required forms or deposits.
Sign up for spring classes that will earn you
Get a job to earn money for college.
Review orientation materials from the college
If living on campus, check with the college for
a list of what's provided by the school and
what the school expects the student to
Contact your roommate.
June 2010 2 www.getreadyforcollege.org